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Friday Digest

Digest

Oct. 26, 2001

Quote of the week…

“In the aftermath of the Cold War, the country said, ‘Hey, it’s beach time’.” –Former CIA Director James Woolsey

On cross-examination…

“The question the government and people of the United States must address immediately is: Should we regard Israel as a vital strategic ally in the war on terrorism and refrain from repeating the mistakes made by Britain towards France six decades ago? Or can we safely indulge in a deceit similar to that earlier time’s – that concessions that weaken, perhaps mortally, one of our most important bulwarks against a common enemy can be made at no peril to our security?” –Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

Open Query…

“Start with the radical assumption that Afghans do not like starving in poverty under the rule of psychopaths. What would happen if the United States made it possible for them to live, not under American rule, but under a sane self-rule, with material assistance from this nation? What would happen, in short, if the United States rescued the Afghans?” –Michael Kelly

The BIG lie…

As recovery efforts continued in the rubble of the World Trade Center, the New York Times has been running a series of short obituaries of 9-11 victims. Never one to miss a cheap shot, Friday’s obit section noted the death of Edward C. Murphy “defied easy categorization,” because “Murphy’s life brimmed with contrasts and deep loyalties. He was a staunch Republican who invested in real estate and race horses. But he also helped nonprofit groups raise money for food and clothing for poor children in his native Clifton, N.J.” A Republican with the heart of a philanthropist? Say it ain’t so!

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, this week began with a testy White House meeting in which Senate Demo Leader Tom Daschle refused the offer Mr. Bush and Hill Republicans thought he couldn’t – to exchange advancing the President’s judicial nominees for Senate Republicans’ votes on pending appropriations bills. Guess who blinked. (Hint: Spending bills but not judges moved in the Senate.)

In the House of Commons, Speaker Dennis Hastert expressed irritation with Daschle over their chambers’ differing decisions about early adjournment last week to avoid potential anthrax infection, as well as to investigate and decontaminate Capitol buildings. Hastert and Republican leaders thought they had an agreement with Daschle for simultaneous breaks.

(For the record, The Federalist believed the legislators should have stayed in session as planned – but relocated to secure facilities if necessary to protect their employees’ safety.)

Counter-terrorism legislation hammered out in a joint-chamber conference committee, H.R.3162, passed the House 357-66, on Wednesday. The Senate then passed the legislation Thursday, 98-1, and Mr. Bush is expected to sign it immediately. This legislation is not so bad and intrusive as it could be, but also not as Constitution-friendly as the House’s earlier version, H.R. 2975, the PATRIOT Act of 2001 (Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism).

Among our chief concerns about the “Patriot Act”? The weakening of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable government search and seizure are troubling. Any law with potential for abuse will eventually be abused. This is never sufficient assurance: “Trust us, we’re from the government.” (Friend of The Federalist Rep. Bob Barr has described plans for future legislation to repair the worst features of secret government searches.)

A more precisely crafted and narrowly tailored law would have greater likelihood of success – less chance of court challenges on constitutional grounds, less chance of abuse under expanding government definitions of what acts are terrorism, and less chance of losing popular support as real international terrorism persists while domestic crimes redefined as terrorism exhaust investigative and prosecutorial resources.

Everything that goes “boo” isn’t terrorism. If “terrorism” is extruded to meet “hate crime,” we’re in serious trouble, folks – which is why sunsetting this legislation by the end of 2005 is crucial for major provisions in this law. Congress must review how the new law is applied in practice, and sooner instead of later.

(And, just in case you missed it amid all the serious deliberation about national security this week, Demo Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, proposed this howler: Bill Clinton should be appointed special envoy to the Middle East.)

Repeat after us, the devil is in the definitions!

In other Swamp action, as the Federal Reserve Board announced that the economy was dead in the water, H.R. 3090, the Economic Security and Recovery Act of 2001, squeaked into House passage, 216-214, offering economic stimulus programs and tax incentives to businesses to the tune of about $100 billion next year and $159 billion over the next 10 years. The House version contains key elements Mr. Bush had requested to boost the ailing economy, but Democrats objected, preferring greater income redistribution. The partisan fight will resume later in the Senate, where leaders Daschle and Trent Lott have stated a preference to hold the bill’s amount to between $65 billion and $75 billion, more in line with Bush administration requests.

Estimates are the House economic growth package would create 167,000 new jobs. But prosperity isn’t the answer; poverty isn’t the problem. In the ongoing struggle to defeat terrorism, it’s still about character – both nationally and personally.

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, a Colorado federal judge ruled Columbine High School in violation of the First Amendment after it forced the removal of 4-inch ceramic tiles depicting Christian symbols, which were displayed in the school in memory of two slain students in the 1999 shooting. The judge ordered the school to restore the tiles after relatives and friends of the students filed a suit arguing that the school’s policy violated free speech and showed hostility toward religion.

On the Left…

The “alCoran News Network” is working hard – for the enemy. The Dezinformatsia outlet has arranged an interview with Osama bin Laden and given him advance copy of six questions some CNN dupe will pose. “Do we think Emperor Hirohito should have been given airtime to explain Pearl Harbor to the American people?” asks the New York Post. Paul Weyrich notes that “CNN wants Saddam’s and Bin Laden’s point of view to come across because they think it has merit.”

White House Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan said, “We have confidence that the networks will handle this responsibly.” What planet did she come from?

On other Leftist fronts, the Green Party USA declared its opposition to making self-defensive war on terror, saying, “Greens believe that all human life is equally valuable, whether a person works in lower Manhattan or lives in the desert outside Kabul.” Party media coordinator Mitchel Cohen said, “Greens everywhere are mobilizing in an anti-war movement to force an end to the cycle of violence. The Green Party USA has officially endorsed anti-war protests that will occur in a number of cities set for Saturday, October 27th, and our members are participating in numerous efforts to stop these bombings and save people’s lives.”

Hey – not a word about what the bombing might be doing to some rare stone age species of scorpion in the Afghan hills…?

And in a quick note from the “Je$$e Ja¢k$on” Files, the consummate race bait extortionist is the subject of a new book, “The Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns,” in which author Nick Nichols calls Ja¢k$on “the godfather of corporate shakedowns.” Advising against decisions like that of Toyota Motor Sales to bow to Jackson’s threatened boycott by doling out more than $300 million and promising another $8 billion or so over ten years for “increasing minority participation in the company,” Nichols commented, “[Appeasement] is the attitude that was held by Neville Chamberlain when he tried to do this with Adolf Hitler. It didn’t get him anywhere and it’s not going to get them anywhere.”

The Commissars…

The Consumer Product Safety Commission met this week to attempt a minor end run around the Constitution’s Second Amendment, just as the committee’s chair, leftover Clintonista Sociocrat Ann Brown, has less than two weeks left in her term of office. The decision was about whether some 100 million air rifles (which you may know as “BB guns”) should be recalled as unsafe and defective products for not possessing the multiple safety features required of firearms. (They should at least be subject to that 5 day waiting period to purchase a gun – which has saved “countless” lives.)

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

Wiley Davis, an IRS Team Manager from Colorado, was released without questioning this week following an attack on a taxpayer during a tax hearing. Witnesses reported taxpayer Ken Nicholson asked to see the IRS code authorizing its lien on his private property, after which agent Davis became enraged, grabbed a chair, and struck Nicholson in the legs and groin. Nicholson observed, “I know that if I would have assaulted the IRS agent, I would be sitting in jail right now. But because the IRS agent is the one who assaulted me, Metro [Las Vegas Police] only took a statement and let him go.”

From the department of military readiness…

The Navy announced expansion of the service’s master-at-arms force, designated as chief protectors of ships and land installations, in response to the terror attack just over one year ago on the USS Cole. The force is targeted to grow from a current strength of 1,700 to around 9,000 over the next six years and will become an elite force. Cal Thomas summed up: “Why were we caught with our preparedness pants down on Sept. 11?” Hey, ain’t military preparedness from the Clinton era something? Well, better late than never!

And at Thursday’s Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld discussed plans for “very robust” testing of ballistic missile defense elements, despite the fact that “vagueness” in legal documents like the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has caused past tests to be limited on the side of caution, so as to not “run up against” treaty prohibitions. As Secretary Rumsfeld noted of the urgency of the testing, if the terrorists had access to missiles they would certainly use them.

From the states…

In the People’s Republic of California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Berkeley money changers are having second thoughts about their City Council’s anti-American views: “Berkeley officials and some merchants were rattled yesterday by the threat of an economic boycott of the city over a City Council resolution opposing the U.S.-led bombing of Afghanistan.” Now there is an idea worth pursuing!

In the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, the commonwealth’s Commission Against Discrimination ruled that transsexuals qualify for protection under the state’s anti-discrimination and disability laws. Raymond “Rachel” Jette brought a suit against his/her employer after she was forced to show up to work wearing men’s clothes and use his given name. Later, she/he amended the complaint to say he/she was discriminated against because of a “handicap or perceived handicap.” Now, who would have “perceived” any handicap here?

Remember Miami-Dade County, that hotbed of Leftists? Thursday, the County reinstated three firefighters who were suspended with pay after refusing to ride in fire trucks sporting American flags, and making derogatory comments about the nation. So, the message in Miami-Dade is you get paid leave when you spit on the flag. (Perhaps these three traitors can appear with Ms. Hillary Rodham-Clinton at the next benefit concert for 9-11 victims.) “We will now be able to put this incident behind us,” Fire Chief R. David Paulison claimed. Not if we can help it. Add Miami to the boycott list!

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

California Village Celeb Rodney King, who, under the influence of PCP in 1992, took an LAPD licking and kept on ticking, was arrested this week on his THIRD charge in TWO months, of being under the influence of – you guessed it – PCP. He also faces a Nov. 20 probation hearing in connection with his 1999 guilty plea in a misdemeanor domestic abuse case. We suppose it is evident how King is spending the $3.8 million settlement he won after the LA riots.

Court Jesters…

In a Florida courtroom, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of a “road rage” assault charge Wednesday. Complainant Jeffrey Pattinson reportedly tailgated Simpson and his two children last year, honking his horn, and flashing headlights to get Simpson to pull his vehicle to a halt. During testimony, Simpson said, “I’ve never been put in that position to have to lie with my life on the line.” Certainly not – he’s had excellent lawyers.

Culture comment…

At last weekend’s Nashville, Tennessee, concert honoring victims of the 9-11 terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, program organizers objected to a new composition by Charlie Daniels entitled “It Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag.” Some of the “objectionable” lyrics run: “This ain’t no rag, it’s a flag, And we don’t wear it on our heads. It’s a symbol of the land where the good guys live. Are you listening to what I said? Now we’re comin’ with a gun And you know you’re gonna run. But you can’t find no place to hide. We’re gonna hunt you down Like a mad dog hound. Make you pay for the lives you stole. We’re all through talkin’ And a-messin’ around. Now it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll.” The promoters apparently saw no irony in their request he not perform the song – which led Daniels to pull out of the concert called “Country Freedom.”

Meanwhile, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Scripps Networks, owner and producer of HGTV, the Food Network and the Do-It-Yourself cable programs, announced they are pulling their support for the Boy Scouts of America. Some of the HGTV programs feature homosexual show hosts.

Faith Matters…

Texas Governor Rick Perry this week ignored the Supreme Court ruling on school-sponsored prayer as he invited a minister to open an East Texas middle school assembly with prayer. He defended his decision, “Any time you have a crisis that faces you either in your personal life or as we have now in our country, reaching out to a supreme being is a very normal act.” Perry further explained he is eager to debate free religious exercise issues, including school prayer, as campaign issues during his first run for a full term as governor next year. Go Gov!

Around the world…

Russia is turning heads and earning new admirers in the West. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been perhaps the most helpful of all world leaders to Mr. Bush’s War on Terror. Putin placed the first phone call to Bush in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, promising a “stand-down” of forces while the U.S. went on highest alert – and he has since declared plans to abandon the Cold War listening post at Lourdes, Cuba, making Maximum Communist leader Fidel Castro quite unhappy. Discussions over changes to the contested ABM Treaty will occur in coming weeks as Putin visits Mr. Bush at his Texas ranch.

And last, in Jupiter, Florida, former Marine George Andres, 61, is in danger of losing his home because he flies an American flag in his front yard, contrary to his Indian Creek Phase III-B Homeowners Association prohibition against flagpoles. Andres had argued that President Bush’s call for Americans to fly and display flags, as a visible sign of national unity, suggested a public policy trumping flag bans. Palm Beach (them again!) County Circuit Judge Catherine M. Brunson, who heard the case, disagreed, assessing legal fees and fines exceeding $28,000 against Andres and his wife. Meanwhile, Andres refuses to substitute the flag bracket allowed by the homeowners association, and his flag is still flying.

Defend Liberty!